Firm to shutdown plants  

BANANA producer Lapanday Foods Corp. (LFC) will cease its packaging operations beginning July 9 in Brgy. Mandug, Buhangin District, which were the box and plastic manufacturing plants that were torched by the New People’s Army (NPA) on April 29 that displaced about 100 workers.

“The company emphasized that in taking this difficult but necessary action to close its box and plastics operations in the aftermath of this senseless violence committed against it, it shall not be deterred,” LFC said in a statement.

With the ceasing of its packaging operations, the company will grant separation pay to about 100 workers. This move was already informed to the Department of Labor and Employment.

The move prompted as the company incurred about P2 billion in damages when its box and plastic manufacturing plants were burned by the NPA.

“While the company has the prerogative not to pay their separation due to this serious business reversal, which the Labor Code allows and existing jurisprudence on the matter support, the management of Lapanday, on humanitarian consideration, decided nevertheless to grant separation pay to all its regular employees,” LFC said.

The company already distributed two weeks after the burning incident the employees’ salaries, the cash equivalent of their leave benefits, 13th month pay, productivity incentives and other benefits.

The incident happened at around 2 am on April 29 when the New People’s Army torched LFC’s box and plastic manufacturing plants at Brgy. Mandug. The group also took employee mobile phones, computers and other company properties.

“The company shares a common loss unnecessarily and unfairly inflicted by this lawless armed group. This loss was not just inflicted on its employees, now rendered jobless. It was a loss for Davao City as well since Lapanday is the seventh top taxpaying company in Davao City, recognized by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio last March 17,” LFC said.

The burning incident was a result after the besieged farmers under Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Inc. (Marbai) sought help to National Democratic Front of the Philippines in January against the banana company.

Marbai, through its head Mely Yu, sought help to the group as they pushed for land ownership of a portion of LFC’s banana plantations in Madaum, Tagum City. Marbai eventually was successfully installed by the Department of Agrarian Reform in the banana plantation contracted by LFC in Madaum, Tagum City. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

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